The filibuster agreement
Why is it fair that Owen, Brown & Pryor get a vote, but Myers and Saad do not? The Republicans could have, with a little party discipline, had votes on all five (and likely victories in each case). Instead, Myers & Saad get thrown under the bus. I'm particularly disturbed by Myers, who would have been a judge on the yahoo Ninth Circuit.
(By the way, by including Owen in the list of judges who get a vote, the Democrats' screams of extremism are exposed for the partisan BS they truly are. If Owen was so "extreme," she shouldn't be getting a vote, should she?)
The Democrats will only filibuster under "extraordinary circumstances." What the hell does that mean? When the moon is full? When the president doesn't kiss Henry Reid's backside for a blessing on his next judicial nomination? On any supreme court nomination? I think the latter is likely, but the Seven Republicans didn't define that particular catch phrase. Maybe they think the Democrats will truly be restrained in using the filibuster, but when one of the signatories is Robert Byrd, I have a hard time believing it.
They will oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress? So the Democrats can use the filibuster in certain circumstances, but the Republicans have to sit on their hands and allow the minority to, once again, dictate the rules?
And what's this see-are-a-pee about the Senate's Advice and Consent role? "We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word 'Advice' speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration."
Show me where it says that! It doesn't! Argh.
Part of me wants to see the Republicans pick up five more seats so the Democrats will just shut up. There are a couple of possibilities, as Democrats Mark Dayton of Minnesota and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, along with Independent James Jeffords of Vermont, are not running for reelection. Possible vulnerabilities include Maria Cantwell in Washington, Kent Conrad in North Dakota, and Ben Nelson in Nebraska.
Other Democrats up for reelection in 2006 include: Akaka (HI); Bingaman (NM); Byrd (WV); Carper (DE); Clinton (NY); Corzine (NJ); Feinstein (CA); Kennedy (MA); Kohl (WI); Lieberman (CT); Nelson (FL); and Stabenow (MI).
However, the Republicans would have to hold all their current seats, which may be difficult considering those up for reelection include Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Olympia Snowe of Maine, all of whom were among the Republican Seven. The anger against those three will likely cost one or more of them a seat. In addition, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is in for a tight race, and who knows what Bill Frist will do.
Other Republicans up for reelection in 2006 include Ensign (NV); Hatch (UT); Hutchison (TX); Kyl (AZ); Lott (MS); and Lugar (IN).
But a part of me wants to see the Republicans lose seats, and lose them in such a way that it's clear that the loss is payback for the filibuster shenanigans. I'm not so sure I'm brave enough to wish for a Republican minority, especially while a Republican president is still in office, but really, what's the point of having a majority if you can't accomplish your agenda?